The smartest companies are able to develop competitive advantages from areas other businesses might not be thinking about—for instance back-office processes like accounts receivable. Automating your invoice-to-cash cycle is an easy place to start, helping you unlock working capital faster and with less effort.
Let’s face it, few company leaders wake up in the morning and say “Today, we are going to be known for our best-in-class back-end AR process”. It’s not that accounts receivable isn’t important. We all know that capital on hand is working capital, and the sooner you get your hands-on working capital, the sooner it can, well, work for you. The problem is that many companies don’t know there is a best-in-class AR process. Their AR process works, after all. Their teams are busy. They’re dialing, emailing, dialing, emailing, and so on. They are doing the job the best they can, the only way they know how. Isn’t everybody?
No, not anymore. Companies like yours are realizing that, not only is there a better way to manage accounts receivable, but it can actually give you a competitive edge.
What's the cost of doing business?
Today’s standard AR process is riddled with pain points:
- Invoices get lost and are constantly being resent.
- Disputes are handled poorly.
- Checks with limited information result in misapplied payments and even further frustration.
- Credit cards not accepted for fear of cost and risk, or credit card information is handled in a non-compliant manner which set the company up for a world of trouble.
- Manual cash application and bank reconciliation.
- And don’t forget the complete lack of visibility and accurate insights at all levels of AR.
As companies grow, and sales grow, accounts receivable grows too, meaning more than just pain points, these factors actually inhibit companies’ ability to scale and grow.
Yet instead of solving these issues, they are often addressed with short-term fixes (ex. adding another AR rep or cutting costs) or they are ignored completely. It’s just the cost of doing business, isn’t it?
Best in class is possible
An inefficient AR process isn’t a cost of doing business, it’s a cost of an inefficient AR process and is easily avoided. Implement a tool that automates the bulk of your AR tasks and frees up your team’s time to better serve your organization and your customer. Whether you view your competitive advantage as being the “most innovative” or having the “best customer service” the truth is - you can have the best product, best service, best X - but if paying you is a pain, if your dispute process ends up frustrating your customer base, if your back-end procedures are time-consuming, you’re eroding all the good work you’ve been doing on the front end.
By cleaning up your neglected AR process; not only will you save time and get your overdue money sooner, but you’ll also create a better customer experience. Customers may still have a dispute, but by making it easy for them to raise it, solve it and pay, you enhance the relationship, help achieve a best in class AR process, and give you an advantage over the competition. So now that you know it’s possible, why wait?
Change, and change now
We are all aware of the advantages of investing early: compounding benefits, first mover advantage, etc. Starting today is better than starting next week, month, or year. What is the benefit to you to have all of your invoices paid even just a day early? What about 2 days? 5, 10, 25 days? The earlier you look to solve your AR inefficiencies, the quicker you can see the benefits. An invoice paid even one day earlier is money that can be used to pay off debt or be re- invested in your company’s core competencies. The earlier your company starts optimizing its AR process, the quicker you can improve your working capital and give yourself a leg up over the competition.
Competitive advantages don’t always come from core competencies. Smart companies are looking at their back-end processes to give themselves a competitive advantage. Automating your invoice-to-cash cycle is an easy place to start. It has immediate impact and pays dividends as you grow. Clean up your AR process, get your cash back sooner with less effort and take the money saved to invest in the direction you want your company to grow.